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Hotfile Sues Warner Bros Over Abuse of Takedown Tool

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the dmca-makes-life-entertaining dept.

Piracy 155

schwit1 writes with a piece in Torrent Freak about ongoing litigation between Hotfile and a few movie studios. From the article: "Hotfile has sued Warner Bros. for fraud and abuse. Hotfile accuses the movie studio of systematically abusing its anti-piracy tool by taking down hundreds of titles they don't hold the copyrights to, including open source software. Among other things, Hotfile is looking for damages to compensate the company for the losses they suffered." Near the end of the article it is mentioned that files taken down by the tool were replaced with links to legally procure similar works from Warner Bros.

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Tool Use (4, Insightful)

nman64 (912054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390116)

The use of tools was a significant early step in the development of humankind. Maybe, in as little as a couple million years, the big studios will be ready to be part of civilized society.

Re:Tool Use (-1, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390346)

The proper way to use a Tool is to rape him from behind and leave him for dead.

Re:Tool Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390404)

No, No, strip them of their tools, and let them go extinct, best way to deal with primordial ooze gone wrong.

Re:Tool Use (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391468)

The use of tools was a significant early step in the development of humankind. Maybe, in as little as a couple million years, the big studios will be ready to be part of civilized society.

Good one. It's all masturbation jokes from here on out.

Re:Tool Use (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391538)

The use of tools was a significant early step in the development of humankind. Maybe, in as little as a couple million years, the big studios will be ready to be part of civilized society.

Good one. It's all masturbation jokes from here on out.

I am highly offended that you would suggest a tool of some nature, like a jack, being used as an item in a masturbation joke. WTF?

under penalty of perjury (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390204)

I would really like someone to hold them to that.

Yes, copyright infringement is illegal. But, stating under penalty of perjury that you own a copyrighted work, and clearly not having checked to see if you do ... well, that should be treated with some pretty harsh legal consequences. In fact, maybe someone can spin it so that the Warner pays the statutory damages as if they pirated the work ... what's that, like 9 trillion dollars per offending file?

Hopefully Hotfile gets some traction on this one.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390344)

well, that should be treated with some pretty harsh legal consequences.

Indeed it should, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. If you really want someone to get slapped down for perjury it helps no end for them to be standing in a court, in front of a judge when they do it.

Re:under penalty of perjury (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390348)

Actually, it's worse then that. They then replaced the file (they didn't own) with links to purchase their own works. IMHO (IANAL, though) that is commercial infringement of copyright, and commercial infringement is a criminal offense. So is perjury, for that matter.

Also, Warner Bros should loose their rights under the DMCA to issue takedown requests at all, since they clearly cannot be trusted to issue valid requests. Make them get a court order every single time. Hopefully, this will serve as a nice precedent against automated takedown tools in the future.

Lenz v. Universal (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390408)

Also, Warner Bros should loose their rights under the DMCA to issue takedown requests at all, since they clearly cannot be trusted to issue valid requests.

I wonder to what extent Lenz v. Universal and the unclean hands doctrine can be extrapolated to keep a service provider's safe harbor intact when faced with takedown requests from someone suspected of perjury.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390568)

I tried to ignore "then", but you followed it up with "loose".

Re:under penalty of perjury (2, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390876)

Your right, but irregardless that doesn't affect my point nor does you're criticism phase me.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390950)

irregardless is not a word.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390972)

Is "whooooosh"?

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391046)

Is "whooooosh"?

Nope

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391024)

We can't ecscape CrackedButter, our little walking libary!

Re:under penalty of perjury (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391498)

He's not the only one that poor grammar irritates. Please for the love of all that is holy learn just the following and make yourself look less like a troll:

Your = Possessive Adjective - It is YOUR car.
you're = Conjunction (you and are). YOU'RE going to get into the car.

The two are not interchangeable.
Getting it wrong makes you look stupid. And ugly.

I'm not even going to get in to which witch is which.
 

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391622)

you're = Conjunction (you and are). YOU'RE going to get into the car.

Actually "you're" is a contraction; conjunctions (e.g. if, but, nor, and, or etc.) connect clauses.

For example: Physician heal thyself OR stop throwing stones.

Re:under penalty of perjury (2)

Lexx Greatrex (1160847) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391106)

irregardless is not a word.

Irregardless is a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391240)

Indeed it is a travishamockery!

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391120)

That's the *only* problem you found with that sentence??

Re:under penalty of perjury (2)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391332)

Seriously? You overlook the actual problems in his post to try to make a point that you're already 90 years too late to make?

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391450)

Oh man, please tell me that's just where you stopped reading.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391258)

that doesn't affect^Weffect my point

Unfixed it for you.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391298)

I think you meant, "...that doesn't effect my point...".

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391634)

Please for the love of all that is holy learn just the following and make yourself look less like a troll:

Your = Possessive Adjective - It is YOUR car.
you're = Conjunction (you and are). YOU'RE going to get into the car.

The two are not interchangeable.
Getting it wrong makes you look stupid. And ugly.

I'm not even going to get in to which witch is which.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

sartin (238198) | more than 3 years ago | (#37392096)

Your right, but irregardless that doesn't affect my point nor does you're criticism phase me.

I think you meant "effect".

;-)

Re:under penalty of perjury (4, Insightful)

The Immutable (2459842) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390684)

Hopefully, this will serve as a nice precedent against automated takedown tools in the future.

Tools are just tools. This one was abused and should be taken from the abuser, but by no means indicates that the tool itself is bad. This is the other side of the fence of the historic ruling on VCRs that just because you can do something illegal with a tool is not reason enough to ban it.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391392)

anti gun nuts will argue whole-heartedly against that logic sir.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390700)

The whole DMCA takedown thing needs to be dismantled. What it amounts to is guilty until proven innocent, and that's just plain un-American.

If there are actual infringers out there, ingringing real works in a damaging way, then the studios will probably find them. There is no need for this Draconian, too-easily-abused takedown system.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391092)

They could remedy the situation by providing actual evidence that they own the works. If a bill collector called me up, they'd have to prove that they do indeed own debt that I'm responsible for paying. I'm not sure why that shouldn't apply to copyright notices as well.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391232)

Except that the bill collector industry is also riddled with abusers. They can slam an entry onto all three credit reports even if it's totally bogus, and it's up to YOU, the innocent party, to clean up the mess. Sure, the entry is removed, but it can take 2-3 months and even longer for your stupid FICO score to recover. I have gone through this on more than one occasion, unfortunately. There is little recourse against the shady debt collectors either, as they can simply resell the "account" to some other bottom feeding bastards who will do the same thing. There is nothing that we the consumers can do to prevent it, either. /still waiting for the next time the phantom Cingular account from a state he never lived in shows up on his credit report once again. :/

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391822)

That's exactly why I believe the credit agencies should be subject to libel and slander charges for their repeated demonstration of reckless disregard for the truth in anything they say. In spite of many examples of debt collector abuse, they still happily pass on gossip as if they had fact checked it.

To add insult to injury, they have the nerve to then charge individual consumers a fee to even tell them when they are repeating such gossip. They should really be up for racketeering by now (that's a nice credit score you've got there...it'd be a shame if anything happened to it.....)

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391250)

"...and that's just plain un-American."

Really?

Arms by your side, eyes straight ahead, or you'll be placed on The List.

That's America.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391160)

Also, Warner Bros should loose their rights under the DMCA to issue takedown requests at all

Can't we just send the guy who signed the notices to jail?

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391310)

I fully expect Warner Brothers to plead "not guilty by reason of corporate insanity" - they have strong supporting evidence!

Re:under penalty of perjury (5, Informative)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390388)

The DMCA's penalty of perjury language only applies to the statement that the author is "authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi) (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#512 [copyright.gov] ).

If I work for Consolidated Pictures, which owns the rights to the movie The Cairo Goose, and I send a DMCA takedown notice on the file MSDN_Preview_WinNT_Cairo-{g00s3}.rar, and state under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights in The Cairo Goose, I'm fine, even though upon closer inspection the RAR file is, on its face, obviously not a copy of my employer's motion picture. (It's someone else's copyright to enforce. ;))

To be clear, I'm not saying (in a DMCA takedown) that I own the rights to that /file/, I'm identifying a work (The Cairo Goose), saying under penalty of perjury that I'm authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder of that work (The Cairo Goose), and, not under penalty of perjury, that I have a good-faith belief that the file in question is a copy of The Cairo Goose.

Note that 512(f) does provide liability "for any damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, incurred by the alleged infringer" when a DMCA notification "knowingly materially misrepresent[s]" infringement.

Also, 512(g) provides for reinstatement of content upon counter-notification where there was a "mistake or misidentification of the material..."

Re:under penalty of perjury (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390580)

To be clear, I'm not saying (in a DMCA takedown) that I own the rights to that /file/, I'm identifying a work (The Cairo Goose), saying under penalty of perjury that I'm authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder of that work (The Cairo Goose), and, not under penalty of perjury, that I have a good-faith belief that the file in question is a copy of The Cairo Goose.

Thanks for the interesting example ... but don't Warner also need to provide some actual evidence that the thing they're insisting be taken down is actually infringing on their copyright?

Because, in your example, you clearly are not a rights holder to MSDN_Preview_WinNT_Cairo-{g00s3}.rar, it is clearly not infringing on your copyright, and therefore you have no legal standing to assert that it be taken down.

I fail to see how the statement "I am authorized to act on behalf of someone who owns an entirely different piece of property" in any way affects all of those myriad properties you don't own.

That more or less boils down to "I own a copyrighted piece of property ... and therefore I insist that you take down this piece of copyrighted property" ... unless you're asserting that the property is in fact yours, then shouldn't you STFU?

And, if you consistently claim that by virtue of holding the copyright to a piece of property with the word Cairo in it, that something is infringing without even checking if that is your property, can't you more or less be deemed to be acting in bad faith or being vexatious? Because you are alleging that the content is infringing on your copyright. Not merely that you're authorized for a specific property, but that you have undertaken steps to indicate that this file is infringing.

Surely there has to be a good mechanism to give Warner Brothers the kick in the groin they so justly deserve for either misrepresenting their standing, or simply failing to do their due diligence. They can't just go around making people take files off the internet without any consequences and process. Especially if the basis of the action is claiming that the reason for pulling the file is because it is supposed to be infringing on your copyright.

Obviously, I'm not a lawyer ... but surely these clowns have to be held to a higher standard than "because we said so".

Vexatious is one of my favorite words (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390696)

It got me out of a bad non-compete, I think the "if you plan on continuing start saving all your emails" and the potential cost of discovery helped.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391088)

USC17 512 (a)(3)(vi):

A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

The statement here is referring to the DMCA notice. Guess what, if you're filing them for things that clearly aren't the work you're claiming, then it's an act of perjury.

What exactly the punishment is for that, I do not know... I am not a lawyer, after all.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391662)

It would probably be worthwhile to set up a web server, then send them a takedown notice because of an infringing file--index.html. After all, you're acting in good faith, since your site also has a file named index.html, and they might be stealing your valuable copyrighted material.

Then see how far it flies. Bonus points if you use it as a counter-attack in a DMCA case. Equivalence can be a real bitch.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390716)

So, 'resinstatement ....' for "mistake or misdentification" ,but not compensatory in that event.

Essentially, do enough of these to Hotfile, and you put them out of business. All under the guise of "mistake ... misidentification".

Sounds like there should be an upper boundary threshhold for requests. Otherwise, you're just jamming up the system, and putting the task to the tax payer for Corporate IP protection and profit. Oh, wait! Isn't that what this is all about in the first place?

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391994)

Sounds like there should be an upper boundary threshhold for requests.

Nope, it should be more like the current "challenge" system in tournament tennis. Make it so that WB can take down as many genuine violations as they like, but three false takedowns in a month should be considered abuse of the Special Rightsholder privilege. The penalty for that should be - for a 90 day period, suspend their Special Rightsholder Account, so that they go back to proving ownership of the IP and having to get a court order for each and every violation they find. I'm sure that 90 days of hassling their^W judges will convince them that due diligence is of value.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390758)

not under penalty of perjury, that I have a good-faith belief that the file in question is a copy of The Cairo Goose.

17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

Not-checking filenames and not-verifying the claimed files does not strike me as "good faith."

And I'm skeptical that "authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed"
can assert authority to act on infringement without also asserting that there is an infringement.
But I'm not a lawyer and grammar wasn't my favorite subject.

Re:under penalty of perjury (3, Interesting)

Maximus633 (1316457) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390816)

I have worked for an ISP Abuse department and routinely had to enforce DMCA.

You're section of stating you have an authorized right to act on behalf of the rights holder. The DMCA requires that you have looked at the file to determine that it in fact is a copyright to which you own. Thus you are saying you have the right to enforce the copyright in regards to that /file/ since it was your work or a work for which you have the right to enforce copyright action to. The fact is you HAVE to establish that you own the copyrights to the work in that file. Otherwise you mis-represent yourself. As you already said that 512(f) does give people the right to come after you.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391690)

You're section of stating you have an authorized right to act on behalf of the rights holder.

DMCA infringements aren't your biggest problem if YOU ARE section.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391646)

It seems to me that there is a slander of title issue here too. And that rights holders to the properties that were improperly removed could also sue Warner Bros for falsely claiming to hold the rights to those properties.

Re:under penalty of perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37392138)

To be clear, I'm not saying (in a DMCA takedown) that I own the rights to that /file/, I'm identifying a work (The Cairo Goose), saying under penalty of perjury that I'm authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder of that work (The Cairo Goose), and, not under penalty of perjury, that I have a good-faith belief that the file in question is a copy of The Cairo Goose.

Through the eyes of the DMCA, how is the service hosting the content supposed to be able to review the content and judge whether it is, in fact, a work that the requestor owns a copyright on?

Re:under penalty of perjury (5, Informative)

prakslash (681585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390462)

It is apparent what is happening.

The studios are using the results of simple keyword searches to trigger takedowns. As an example, while claiming to remove files that are copies of the movie "The Box", Warner removed several files related to the alternative cancer treatment book "Cancer: Out Of The Box" Another title deleted by Warner was "The Box that Saved Britain", a production of the BBC, not Warner.

If the studios want Hotfile to spend time and resources to stop aiding in the distribution of the studios' copyrighted content, then it is also the studios' responsibility to spend their own time and resources to correctly identify their copyrighted content.

Re:under penalty of perjury (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391422)

More importantly, perjury is a FELONY criminal offense while copyright infringement can a criminal or civil offense. The robosigners of the complaints should be charged as criminals. Isn't it telling that the same organizations that are pushing to increasingly criminalize copyright infringement don't feel teh need to refrain from criminal activity to "protect" their property.

I think we also need to (1)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390248)

sue them for also all the possible content we may have downloaded and lost on.

Re:I think we also need to (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390746)

What about creating content with those search terms.

Instead of "The Matrix" how about 'my' movie review of "The Matrix" and essays on Eastern philosophies in the movie.

Wait for them to robo-take-down, and then sue.

Re:I think we also need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390880)

The trouble is, they have lawyers. So you'd get owned for a Strategic Lawsuit Against Pirate Pounders.

legally procure similar works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390284)

Near the end of the article it is mentioned that files taken down by the tool were replaced with links to legally procure similar works from Warner Bros.

I didn't RTFA, but the summary mentions open source software. Did it become illegal to download OSS while I slept last night?

Re:legally procure similar works? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390378)

No, open source is used by big business to cheaply make corporate applications.

Then somewhere along the line they forget that they didn't write the open source software that builds their bottom line.

For instance, every god damned corporate web app from *cough* HP, has been a hodge podge of free software wrapped in a thin shell and pawned as enterprise.

For instance, it's apache httpd and tomcat, running on mySQL and using the ext-js ajax library along with a bunch of free java tools to comprise an enterprise ready Change management database.

I fear these companies might use some kind of signature which wrongly was pointed at open source parts of the app which leads them to find many false-positives that are really just legitimate applications using said library. They don't understand the difference and throw out Cease and Desists.

Re:legally procure similar works? (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390382)

No I believe the point is they are basically using the tool as a extremely rude advertising platform. I'm sorry but your copy of knoppix has been removed by a DMCA takedown, can I interest you in legally purchasing a blu-ray of the matrix?

Re:legally procure similar works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390422)

I read it as they offer Photoshop in place of GIMP or Paint.net downloads.

Interference with Contracts (3, Interesting)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390294)

The article states loss of accounts and goodwill, but a software publisher was using hotfile to distribute his freeware app, and Warner deleted his files.

Hopefully Hotfile has the money to go the distance on this one and not settle out of court.

Hopefully the judge won't let Warner and the other four studios drop the case so no precedent can be set.

I might almost buy that Warner was using a piece of software and a script and made some mistakes, btu that the mistakes got worse after they were notified that is negligence.

Too bad they won't get fined MAFFIAA imaginary numbers. How many freeware downloads didn't happen because they deleted the file, must have been millions at $750 a piece right?

Cloning blues (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390468)

a software publisher was using hotfile to distribute his freeware app, and Warner deleted his files.

Was it a clone of a video game published by Williams, Atari Games, Tengen, or Midway? Because Warner might be under the impression that, say, a video game with the same rules as Joust or Klax infringes Warner's copyright in Joust or Klax. I've seen other video game companies, such as The Tetris Company, aggressively pursue clones of their products even when distributed under a different name.

Re:Cloning blues (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390590)

their reg exps would have probably hit even dosbox.

For example, while claiming to remove files that are copies of the movie The Box, Warner removed several files related to the alternative cancer treatment book “Cancer: Out Of The Box,” by Ty M. Bollinger. Another title deleted by Warner was “The Box that Saved Britain,” a production of the BBC, not Warner.

WB bought the service to weed out those files from some lazy, lazy, lazy bastards who probably billed WB by the amount of files- lose lose for everyone except those lazy bastards.

Re:Cloning blues (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390596)

You can't copyright the rules of a game.

Re:Cloning blues (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390964)

You can't copyright the rules of a game.

I am aware of that. The Tetris Company isn't (hence Tetris v. BioSocia), and apparently neither are some other publishers of some early-1980s arcade games.

Re:Interference with Contracts (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390508)

I bet Warner claims that because it was a freeware app, no damages can be awarded because no profit was lost.

Re:Interference with Contracts (1, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390520)

Hotfile is suing Warner, so, Warner does not have the option of dropping that case. I am not quite sure how Warner managed to replace the link with a link to buying something from them, but that is a fairly serious charge (and one I have no trouble believing they would do if possible).

Re:Interference with Contracts (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390574)

In the Article (I know new here, etc) they state the Hotfile case is in response to 5 Studios suing Hotfile.

So I want both Hotfile to vigourously pursue their legal claim, and the 5 studios suing Hotfile to not be allowed to drop their original suit if it looks like they will lose.

Replacement Links (4, Interesting)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390306)

Near the end of the article it is mentioned that files taken down by the tool were replaced with links to legally procure similar works from Warner Bros.

Just to clarify any misunderstandings about what this meant(Emphasis mine):

Hotfile suspects that the overbroad takedowns were not only an attempt to prevent copyright infringement, but also a scheme to make profits. Warner proposed to Hotfile an affiliate deal where content that was taken down would be replaced with links to movie stores where users could buy Warner movies. More takedowns thus means more potential revenue.
"Warner had an economic motive to make these misrepresentations. As noted above, in early 2010, Warner proposed a business arrangement with Hotfile whereby Warner sought to present ecommerce links to Hotfile users who might purchase a Warner file for Warner's profit in place of links that Warner had deleted using its SRA."

Re:Replacement Links (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390660)

Warner proposed to Hotfile an affiliate deal where [illegal] content that was taken down would be replaced with links to movie stores where users could [legally] buy Warner movies.

And the problem is?

Re:Replacement Links (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391010)

The problem is on Slashdot the only weirdo who actually RTFA was Fnord666.

My hypothesis: You could post a dupe of any Slashdot story with an appropriately tweaked summary, and produce similar kneejerk response comments in the opposite direction of the first story.

Bend Over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390360)

(Posting AC because I'm at work)

"Hotfile explains that Warner’s Special Rightsholder Account (SRA) is assigned to Michael Bentkover, Manager of Anti-Piracy Internet Operations at the movie studio."

Seriously?! Is that name for real?

I think someone is going to get bent over, if these allegations are true (as I suspect they are...).

Re:Bend Over (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390438)

What are the odds that he acted alone and without the knowledge of the studios?

A proposed solution (5, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390372)

Make there be a statutory damage value and cause of action for each false DMCA takedown which is the same ($150,000 ?) as for each instance of copyright infringement.

This should happen more often! (5, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390384)

The DMCA gives copyright holders the power to take down content based on little more than their say so. It is therefore very important that making bogus DMCA claims carry penalties commensurate with the damage (both moral and monetary) suffered by those whose content is taken down by means of fraudulent or negligent copyright claims.

Re:This should happen more often! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390594)

nuh-uh - make it 10 times the value of copyright infringement, plus lawyer fees, plus handing over the copyright rights for the works they claimed were infringed.

That way they lose the works they were trying to protect if they make a false accusation.

Re:This should happen more often! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391570)

If by "handing over" you mean giving them to the takedown recipient, then no. Copyrights lost in this manner should revert to the public domain.

Re:This should happen more often! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391060)

The DMCA gives rich people the power to take down content of poor people based on little more than their say so.

ftfy.

Re:This should happen more often! (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391418)

On the bright side, it means you can file DMCA takedowns for content named Remotely Similarly to content that you hold the copyright for, right?

Warner Bros: too much money to care (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390436)

A valiant effort on Hotfile's part but they'd have better luck pulling hairs out of a honeybadger's ass than getting that lawsuit to stick.

Re:Warner Bros: too much money to care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37390658)

They have a very good case it sounds like.

Re:Warner Bros: too much money to care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391372)

That might be informative or insightful if it had some basis to back it up. You could blindly post that on every story on Slashdot, and I sure hope it would not get modded-up like it did here.

Anti-Piracy Tool and No Surprise (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390450)

According to the complaint, Warner systematically misused the anti-piracy takedown tool (SRA) Hotfile had built for them.

So Hotfile built a tool called SRA (which stands for Special Rightsholder Account? Go figure.) that Warner uses to take down whatever it wants without Hotfile having to get involved. Is anyone surprised that Warner then took down whatever they thought might in some way, shape or form relate to something that they do hold the copyright to?

Re:Anti-Piracy Tool and No Surprise (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390650)

It is surprising that Warner took down open source software that has no relations to its copyright content.

I assume that other movie studios have similar agreements with Hotfile and they seem to be following the rules fine. If the allegations are true, it is a really dumb move on Warner's part.

Re:Anti-Piracy Tool and No Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391098)

From the article:
“Every time Warner used the SRA tool it expressly certified ‘under penalty of perjury that [it is] the owner or an authorized legal representative of the owner of copyrights’ and it ‘has a good faith belief’ that use of this material is not authorized by the copyright owner,” the complaint explains.

I assume this comes from the tools Terms and Conditions. If they are ignoring the terms and conditions of others, why should anyone listen to their terms and conditions they impose on any of their products?

Re:Anti-Piracy Tool and No Surprise (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#37392006)

It seems surprising that Warner was quite so reckless about it. Although exactly what the thoughts are of various individuals within a company we can only speculate.

The thing is, Hotfile probably considered this tool a lesser evil than the risk that Warner et al. would sue them into oblivion, arguing that the site was entirely about copyright infringement. This has clobbered a lot of Warner's legitimacy if Hotfile does decide to cut off all ties with them.

*BEEEEP* FAIL! (5, Informative)

snugge (229110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390456)

from the faq:
Q.Can I search the Hotfile server for certain files?
A. No. Hotfile protects the privacy of our users. Only the person storing a file on Hotfile gets the download link. That person decides who should have access to the link. A file can only be downloaded if the download link details are known.

it should read:
Q.Can I search the Hotfile server for certain files?
A. Yes. Hotfile do not protect the privacy of our users. All major Hollywood Companies get acces to your download link. These companys decides who should have access to the link. They can download and look at your private files as they wish. They can choose to delete your files.

Re:*BEEEEP* FAIL! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391096)

That's likely not how it happened. How many hotfile links can you find on the internet for all who visit the site?

Answer: Quite a few.

Without being explicitly told otherwise, it's not really fair to assume hotfile is sharing the info with people in ways it claims it doesn't.

Re:*BEEEEP* FAIL! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391400)

AFAIK, the copyright tool requires the studios to have the link to be able to delete it. They can't make them up or look them up, they're most probably scraping some sites and not caring what links they get.

penalties (4, Informative)

meglon (1001833) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390504)

from: http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/responding-dmca-takedown-notice-targeting-your-content,br.,br [citmedialaw.org] . The highlighted part:

Section 512(f) of the DMCA creates liability for knowingly making false claims in a DMCA takedown notice or counter-notice. See 17 U.S.C. 512(f). So, if you claim in a counter-notice that your content does not infringe the complaining party's copyrighted work while knowing this to be false, then the copyright owner can win damages from you, including court costs and attorneys' fees stemming from your wrongful counter-notice. Note, however, that this provision also works against a person or company sending a wrongful takedown notice. If someone claims in a takedown notice that you are infringing their copyrighted material while knowing this to be false, then you can win damages from them in a lawsuit. In recent years, the targets of wrongful takedowns have fought back and won damages and favorable settlements from individuals and companies sending bogus takedown notices. For instance, in Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc., 337 F. Supp. 2d 1195 (N.D. Cal. 2004), two students and their ISP sued voting machine manufacturer Diebold after it tried to use DMCA takedown notices to disable access to Internet postings of the company's leaked internal email archive. The court granted summary judgment to the students and ISP on their claim, finding that portions of the email archive were so clearly subject to the fair use defense that "[n]o reasonable copyright holder could have believed that [they] were protected by copyright." According to the EFF, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees to settle the lawsuit. For another example, see Crook v. 10 Zen Monkeys in our legal threats database. Someone who has sent a baseless takedown notice about your content may be more inclined to back off if you remind him or her about section 512(f) of the DMCA, in addition to sending a counter-notice.

Re:penalties (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390662)

Does 'knowingly' still apply if the process is automated? They probably just search on the titles of their movies and have a script takedown every hit.

Re:penalties (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390900)

Easy enough to find out. If any internal memo references the mere concept of accuracy being less than perfect... then they know there will be false positives in the mix. At that point, they KNOW a percentage will be baseless.

Re:penalties (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391286)

Its worse than that Hotfile notified them they were taking down files that weren't theres and they kept doing it.

Re:penalties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391396)

Obviously. The script didn't come into being by cosmic coincidence and the author of course knew it would fail some of the time since there is no such thing as a perfect piece of software.

They should forget about money (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390512)

and demand an actual trial for perjury, with criminal penalties. The law says it is perjury, and Warner bros. has committed it. More importantly, as per the article, only a single person at Warner was legally entitled to take issue take down orders, Michael Bentkover. Charge him with the legal offense he has committed - perjury.

I bet this would stop the illegal requests a lot sooner than a request for cash.

Re:They should forget about money (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390622)

put WB in prison? how does that work? the bozos who were working them? that would send a nice message at least..

Re:They should forget about money (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#37391440)

I fully expect them to allow Bugs Bunny to serve the sentence on their behalf!

Re:They should forget about money (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390910)

Nope, the DMCA is more stupidly written than you think it is.

It's only perjury if you file a takedown claiming a file is something you don't have the rights to (i.e. I send a takedown request for a Disney movie, which I don't hold rights to.). There is nothing in the law as written that requires the subject of the takedown have anything to do with the work you are claiming rights to.

*similar* works? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390552)

The tool replaced files with links to *similar* works, or were they the *same* works? And if they were the *same* works, does Warner have the rights to them?

Re:*similar* works? (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 3 years ago | (#37390948)

So, if I use false pretense to gain otherwise unauthorized access to a protected resource or service, and I then delete, modify and insert data while utilizing that unauthorized access...

This would solve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37391830)

How about stop buying crap and supporting from these freakin "entertainment" companies?

Oh wait. That actually takes (minimal) effort and you might not get to see that one movie. Those crazy priorities!!!

Misleading article title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37392038)

From the actual document it was very clear that WB had sued hotfile. Why would slashdot article title claim that hotfile sued wb? They're just responding.

Precedent indicates Hotfile is correct (3, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#37392192)

Lenz_v._Universal_Music_Corp. [wikipedia.org] , circumstances aren't the same, but they do establish that copyright holders must exercise good faith in determining that a copyright infringement has actually occurred before filing a takedown notice. They don't specifically set out what constitutes good faith, but clearly removing items that simply contained the words "The Box" wouldn't qualify given this "fair use" precedent actually included 29 seconds of copyrighted material and was deemed plausible enough fair use for the counterclaim to proceed.
Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. was a 2007 case in which the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before issuing takedown notices for content posted on the internet. Stephanie Lenz posted on YouTube a home video of her children dancing to Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy."[1] Universal Music Corporation (Universal) sent YouTube a takedown notice pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claiming that Lenz's video violated their copyright in the "Let's Go Crazy" song. Lenz claimed fair use of the copyrighted material and sued Universal for misrepresentation of a DMCA claim. The court held that, in violation of the DMCA, Universal had not in good faith considered fair use when filing a takedown notice.
The court also explained that liability for misrepresentation is crucial in preventing abuse of the DMCA as a means to stifle controversial speech.

And USC 17 S512 [copyright.gov] subsection (f) establishes penalties for misrepresentation by either the copyright holder or the alleged infringer

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